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Esther 3:2-3

Context
3:2 As a result, 1  all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate were bowing and paying homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded. However, Mordecai did not bow, 2  nor did he pay him homage.

3:3 Then the servants of the king who were at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you violating the king’s commandment?”

1 tn Heb “and” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV). Other modern English versions leave the conjunction untranslated here (NAB, NIV, NCV, NLT).

2 sn Mordecai did not bow. The reason for Mordecai’s refusal to bow before Haman is not clearly stated here. Certainly the Jews did not refuse to bow as a matter of principle, as though such an action somehow violated the second command of the Decalogue. Many biblical texts bear witness to their practice of falling prostrate before people of power and influence (e.g., 1 Sam 24:8; 2 Sam 14:4; 1 Kgs 1:16). Perhaps the issue here was that Haman was a descendant of the Amalekites, a people who had attacked Israel in an earlier age (see Exod 17:8-16; 1 Sam 15:17-20; Deut 25:17-19).



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